Travel around Italy, especially in the weeks up to Carnevale, and you will see fritelle for sale in many of the pasticcerias. Taste one or two and you will soon learn that the fritelle in Florence are very different from the fritelle in Venice. One could create a Carnevale tasting tour of Italy just sampling all the different fritelle and cenci throughout the boot.
Whereas in Florence the Fritelle di Riso predominate, and they have a certain heft despite their small size thanks to the inclusion of rice which adds both weight and chew; the Fritelle Veneziane are both lighter and larger than their Florentine counterpart. A glorified cross between a doughnut and a cream puff; they are light and airy, with a natural pocket inside ripe for filling. Variations abound; the traditional Carnevale version is a light fritter, plump and sweet with rum soaked raisins and sometimes, pine nuts, but you will also find fritelle stuffed with decadent fillings. That light egg batter forms a thin wall, a delicate barrier that gives way to a creamy rich interior. Traditional fillings include sweet whipped cream (chantilly), pastry cream, or zabaglione (sabayon) but you will also find more modern options like Nutella. Stick with tradition, the rich boozy sweet zabaglione mirrors the eggy flavors of the fritelle adding another layer of flavor and depth; while whipped cream rounds out the sweetness and lightens the texture.
Where to Eat the Best Fritelle in Venice
Tonolo is a historic pasticceria dating to 1886. They make some of the best zabaglione filled fritelle you’ll find. Pasticceria Didovich Italo is a Venetian favorite, burried deep inside a residential neighborhood it is worth seeking out. Excellent fritelle filled with zabaglione or pastry cream.
Tonolo. Calle San Pantalon, 3764. Venice. www.pasticceriatonolo.it; tel: 041 523 7209
Pasticceria Didovich Italo. Sestiere Castello, 5909, Venice. tel: 041 523 0017
See also: Fritelle di Riso